Figure - Wood - N'Dop - Kuba - Congo DRC

Figure - Wood - N'Dop - Kuba - Congo DRC
Mid 20th century - Excellent

A finely carved hardwood Ndop figure of a high ranking Kuba nobleman.

H= 45 cm

The nobleman sits cross-legged on a rectangular platform which is decorated with geometric chain-like bands. His left hand rests on his knee, the right hand holds some vegetal symbol of power. The head is large, with finely carved features and the typical nobleman square headdress. He wears a belt incised with shell motifs, armbands, bracelets, a rounded shoulder strap, and a belt with richly decorated back apron.
Condition: very good. Light, yellow shiny patina throughout.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, researchers have submitted various theories, both on the function of these statues and on their dating. According to Vansina (1972), these statues fulfilled different functions, during the lifetime of the monarch (to favor the fertility of his wives and facilitate births), and after they died, when they became commemorative statues which were exhibited during important occasions. Cornet (1982: 58) rejected this hypothesis, asserting that they were, first and foremost, commemorative statues made after the death of the king. Thus, the “posthumous nature of the Ndop has a significant consequence on chronological calculations; [some of them] may have been ordered by one and the same king to bridge gaps left by a predecessor".

B/w images: Elisofon, Jan Vansina 1956 . A Kuba-Shoowas, representing a village female chieftain. These village chief representations are comparable to Kuba-Bsuhong royal figures (ndop). Photo by Jan Vansina, 1956 ( University of Wisconsin).

- "Coming to Terms with Heritage: Kuba Ndop and the Art School at Mushenge." African Arts 43, 3 (2012): 28-42.

Lot details
Indigenous object name
Ethnic group/ culture
Region/ country
Congo DRC
Mid 20th century
Sold with stand
45×15×13 cm
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